Carmelo Anthony’s journey to the NBA began in Baltimore. That’s where his family moved when he was 8 years old. That’s where he became a high- school sensation while at Towson Catholic High School where he grew to 6-foot-5 and was named the Metro Player of the Year in 2001.

He would finish at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. But his roots are in Baltimore where the Knicks will play a preseason game against the Wizards Thursday night.

It will mark the first time Anthony has played a college or NBA game in Baltimore. Yet even though the 1st Mariner Arena is about 10 minutes from where he grew up Anthony has mixed emotions about his return. In some respects he views it as just another preseason game in preparation for the upcoming regular season insisting he isn’t nervous about the homecoming.

“Nervous? I haven’t been nervous since my son was born” Anthony said Monday after the Knicks went through an extensive practice at their training facility. “I don’t know what nervous feels like. It’ll be a different type of feeling knowing I’ll know three-fourths of the people that will be at that game because Baltimore is a tight-knit small community. Everybody knows everybody. So it’s a different feeling playing in front of people you grew up with and seeing old friends and family. I just want to have fun win the basketball game and move on.”

Anthony’s return to Baltimore might offer him a chance to get nostalgic and think back on how all his dreams as a kid of playing in the NBA have come true. From high school he went to Syracuse where he won a national championship. Now he is one of the top five players in the NBA and making more than $20 million this year.

“I’ve had moments when I think about that and reminisce with family members and friends and we go back down memory lane” Anthony said. “But that really won’t hit me until I get [to Baltimore].”

Truth is Anthony has plenty to accomplish in his career. In his 10th season he is still searching for the NBA championship that all players covet and by which the great ones are measured. If he can pull that off as a Knick he will become a legendary figure like Clyde Frazier and Willis Reed.

But the Knicks enter the second week of preseason looking nothing like a team ready to start the regular season. Kenyon Martin J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire still haven’t seen any live action. Regardless of what they might say it seems improbable Smith or Stoudemire will have an impact during the first few weeks of the season.